I was just thinking about the situation in the Church and I wondered if it might be possible that Paul VI WAS an anti-Pope (I am not a sede). If he was, it invalidated VII and all of the modern errors and while the Popes who followed him could still be valid Popes (even if Paul was an anti-Pope) most of their errors would be due to a mistaken belief that he wasn't - thus feeling that they had to accept VII as valid.
I have had that thought, actually, and it disturbed me greatly.
I have often wondered if we should judge the validity of the VII "papacies" on an individual basis rather than in one post-VII lump. It's not really relevant as far as Benedict goes, because he is disqualified by Cum Ex Apostolatus, not necessarily because he accepts Vatican II. No heretic can be validly elected Pope and he has been a heretic for about as long as he has been in the public eye. But it could be relevant for JPII, or for Benedict's successor.
The Pope can't promote an invalid Council, that is how we know a posteriori that Paul VI is not Pope. We also know that the Church itself cannot possibly approve of an invalid council or shove such a Council down the throat of its children. So anyone who goes along with Vatican II, including the "Popes" that followed, are not in the real Church.
BUT. MAIS. ABER. PERO. Is it possible to be the head of the true Church who is actually presiding over a dummy church without knowing it? Great, Jamie -- you have led me into hatching a theory more complex than sedeprivationism! I'll leave it up to someone else with better Latin to think of a catchy Latin name for it.
A lot of this actually depends on the aggravating figure of Pius XII. Pius XII came up with a disciplinary law saying that the cardinals can elect a Pope even if they're all excommunicated.
“34. No Cardinal, by pretext or reason of any excommunication, suspension, in-terdict or other ecclesiastical impediment whatsoever can be excluded in any way from the active and passive election of the Supreme Pontiff. Moreover, we suspend such censures for the effect only of this election, even though they shall remain otherwise in force.” (Cons. “Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis,” 8 December 1945)
So even if all the cardinals who went along with Vatican II were pertinacious heretics who had incurred automatic excommunication, they can still vote in a Pope, if this constitution of Pie Douze ( as they call him in French, it amuses me ) is valid.
Theoretically, then, the answer to my question above about whether you can have a valid Pope presiding over an invalid church thinking it's the true Church is "yes." Or at least, he has a valid election -- unless the Siri thing is true. The real question about the possible Siri election, you see, is not if we have a hidden Pope somewhere ( he had no way to elect successors ) but that, if there was a Siri election, that means John XXIII did not have a valid election.
But this wouldn't matter much when it comes to Paul VI, because of the law made by Pius XII above...
Am I helping to clear this up? Didn't think so. This is why I don't push the sede position as hard anymore. There is definitely a massive grey area here. I don't think ultimately that it is very consequential which side of that debate you are on, just like in the Schism. It's better to be on the right side but those of us who are wrong, if we are wrong, have good reasons. There are good reasons on both sides.
I will say that I don't really understand SSPX because of their position that has "schismatic overtones," shall we say, although I know no schism is intended. But if I decided to go to an una cum Mass, I'd probably suck it up and go to an Indult. I think those in SSPX frankly just don't want to be around Vatican II types and want to carve out a little fairyland for themselves with the smells and bells. SSPX made more sense in the beginning; the excuse was to keep the Latin Mass alive. I'm not sure what the point of them is now. Because there's no reason to go to SSPX if you can go to a VII Latin Mass -- unless, perhaps, you want to SEPARATE yourselves from other Catholics because they seem like lower lifeforms or have the stink of worldliness on them. Needless to say, that isn't the greatest attitude to have.
The sedevacantist position, then, is where I am hunkered down for now. It is also bolstered by the more overt heresies that followed the VII Council such as the Joint Declaration on Justification ( probably the most overt of all heretical VII documents ). It may not be an ex cathedra dogma that encyclicals are flawless when teaching on faith and morals, but it is definitely a dogmatic fact, it is definitely part of the OUAM. If you couldn't trust the Pope to teach correctly on the faith in his encyclicals, the Church would be a madhouse.
All sorts of other dogmatic facts are denied by saying that these are true Popes; like that the Pope can promote harmful liturgy ( I'm not talking about the Novus Ordo, I'm talking about the Anaphora of Addai and Mari ) or that dubious saints can be canonized. Of course the latter asks us to form a judgment on someone's soul that we can't form...
I could go on with this all day; I hope you enjoyed the peek into my tormented mind. Ultimately, to arrive back at where I started, the scales for me are tipped towards sedevacantism by Cum Ex Apostolatus.